600 Complaints Submitted

Posted by khmernews on February 25, 2008

John Chanrotha

Only 600 victims of Democratic Kampuchea have so far submitted their complaints to the Victims Unit of the Khmer Rouge tribunal since early 2008.
Balasz Maar, a volunteer member of staff in the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Victims Unit, said that only 600 complaints from the victims and the Civil Parties were under supervision of the Victims Unit.

“The victim participation is crucially important for the Co-Judges and Co-Prosecutors because they can give more evidence,” said Balasz Maar, “When we receive more complaints, we also receive more evidence.”

Robert Petit, Khmer Rouge tribunal’s co-prosecutor, claimed that since the Victims Unit had just recently been established, there were still only a few complaints.

“It is the first time in the history that the victims in the international criminal law fully participate in the process of the tribunal,” said Gabriella Gonales, deputy head of the Victims Unit.

Article 3 of the Practice Direction on the victim participation in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia states that in order to be considered as victims for the purposes of the ECCC, the victims should:
-be a natural person or legal entity that has suffered harm as a result of the commission of any crime
-physical, material or psychological; and
-the direct consequence of the offence, personal and have actually come into being.

“The victims who have complied with the criteria set out have rights to submit their Civil Party applications without discrimination against criteria such as present address and nationality,” said Balasz Maar.

Victims who are the Civil Parties can ask for “reparations” but not individual reparations, he said. “They need to be collective or moral reparations such as the symbolic monument or social works which help the victims of Democratic Kampuchea.”

Currently, there are some non-governmental organizations which are assisting the victims to lodge the complaints. Jamie Bair, another volunteer member of staff in the Victims Unit, said that the victims could approach organizations such as CHRAC, ADHOC, and KID.

In the Documentation Center of Cambodia’s Searching for the Truth Magazine, issued number 94, in October 2007, the DC-Cam was planning a new project to disseminate the rights of victims to participate in the tribunal through filing complaints to the court of law or singing in a form to become Civil Party in a particular criminal case.

According to the Practice Direction on the Khmer Rouge trial, the trial is based largely on the collected evidence to punish the criminals.

The suspects will possibly to be charged with crimes such as murder, torture, religious persecution, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and cultural destruction.

Up to present, 5 former Khmer Rouge suspects being held the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s cell include Duch, Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith.

The Civil Party which has been acknowledged by the Victims Unit of the Khmer Rouge tribunal will be allowed to participate in the appeal hearing of Nuon Chea against his provisional detention on 4 February.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Sakal vol. 15, #3184, Friday-Thursday, February 1-7, 2008.


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